In the Asian culture, family is a very important element. There have been countless movies that revolves around families, ranging from the brilliant Piku to the high profile but phony Dil Dhadakne Do (though in my opinion Monsoon Wedding is the best movie that deals with the breakdown of familial relations and ultimately redeeming themselves).
We meet two estranged brothers, Rahul (Fawad Khan) and Arjun (Sidharth Malhotra), who are forced to return to their home in Conoor, India from London and New Jersey respectively, to be with their grandfather, Dadu (Rishi Kapoor) who had a heart attack. The brothers’ parents are also there, Harsh (Rajat Kapoor) and Sunita (Ratna Shah). Rahul is a successful novelist in London, and exemplifies the image of a man who’s achieved everything in life. He is according to his mother the “perfect child.” Arjun, on the other hand, an aspiring novelist, is seen as someone who’s confused in life, having attempted several things in life, but never completing them. He’s the “black sheep” of the family.
No sooner have the brothers landed in their home after five years of not speaking to each other, are the parents are embroiled in a fight, putting all four of them in a rather precarious situation, where several issues come up.
Enters Tia, a young woman, who happens to meet both Rahul and Arjun under different circumstances. She falls for Rahul, but he doesn’t reciprocate her feelings. Arjun finds out that Tia has also been seeing his brother, which makes for a very awkward love triangle. Things start getting complicated when truths are finally being revealed, and all those simmering tension moments come forth.
It’s so refreshing to see a movie from Bollywood that doesn’t sugar coat family problems. Their fights and arguments could pass off for a fight you may have witnessed in your own family or someone that you know off. Their problems are real, where the issues are not merely glossed over a cup of tea. That’s not to say Kapoor and Sons is not without some humorous moments, mainly provided by the 90-year old grandfather whose only desire is to have one last family portrait taken; the portrait that holds the movie together.
Among the actors, Sidharth Malhotra is the weakest of them all. Though he’s improved a lot from Student of the Year, he’s overshadowed by the others. He does have an intense scene with his mother, which tugs at your heart.
Alia Bhatt is a competent actress (check out the moment when she shares a story about her own family), but her character doesn’t get much time on screen.
Dadu the grandfather, was good in parts, and his only role was to hold the family together and provide comic relief.
The parents, in my opinion, did a great job. They face real world problems: bills not being paid on time, not knowing when the next income will come on time, taking care of the sick grandfather and running the house. Throw in the accusation of having an extra-marital affair, and we get to witness the powerful acting chops from very competent actors.
Which brings us to the main highlight of the movie: our very own Pakistani, Fawad Khan.
Truth be told, I was not really a huge fan of him in his previous movie Khoobsurat, but I am highly impressed by him in Kapoor and Sons. His acting is remarkably mature and right from the start in the first family fight scene, you are convinced Fawad Khan is a brilliant actor. He brings warmth and grace, yet that slight bit of vulnerability, to his character extremely well. He slides so effortlessly from being the doting son, to a big brother to a romantic.
There is also some talk of why Fawad Khan chose to do a character like this in his second film in Bollywood. Some people have criticised him for doing such a role. To that, I will say that he is first and foremost an actor, and this is merely a character he’s playing, and he essays the character quite well. He will be getting acting awards, and he will be showered with praises for choosing to play the role of Rahul Kapoor. Kudos to the director for having show the character of Rahul Kapoor in a mature and sensible manner.
Having said that, the chemistry between ALL the actors is believable and convincing, and you very quickly drawn into their lives, for these are people you suddenly care about and feel their moments of joy, happiness, despair, anger and tears. (For those of you who are emotional, do carry a box of Kleenex!)
Along with this, the sole winner of the movie is the script: it’s real, it’s realistic, and it’s dripped in reality, which I love!
Kapoor and Sons is directed by Shakun Batra, who directed the brilliant Ek Main Aur Ek Tu, which is a huge favorite movie of mine, merely because it’s unconventional and turns the whole formula upside down by redefining what a friendship or relationship could mean.
In the same manner, Batra has taken us down this journey where there are no easy answers to life’s problems, but somehow things sort out when family members are there for each other during dark and stormy weathers. It’s all right if you make mistakes. It’s all right if you don’t know what to say. It’s all right if you need space and time away from each other. But as long as you are there for each other, a family can get through life’s problems.
By the time you leave the theater, you will have something to relate to in the movie, and something will make you super grateful to know that you have a family. It may make you want to pick up the phone and make several calls to your siblings or your parents and tell them you love them. It will certainly make you want to appreciate your own family members for their presence in your life.
Princess Diana once famously said “Family is the most important thing in the world” and Kapoor and Sons drives that point home in a movie that’s poignant, profound, humorous and surprisingly, real.
4.5 out of 5